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Yangsheng, or nurturing life, is a core component of traditional Chinese medicine that puts paramount emphasis on the prevention of illness and fostering health and well-being. Typically, it is middle-aged or older people who follow certain rules of yangsheng, such as doing tai chi or sipping tea.
However, yangsheng has lately become a fad among younger Chinese people. By balancing the indulgences of modern life with the health tips of their grandparents, they have created what has been dubbed "punk yangsheng" in an attempt to maintain both good health and their lifestyle.
As young people gradually take more responsibility in society, they are paying attention to their health, taking note of the harm that some of their habits can bring and trying to reduce the risks while still enjoying their vices.
According to yangsheng, goji tea is good for the liver, so young people drink plenty of goji tea if they stay up to go barhopping. Women who are menstruating should eat jujubes to enrich the blood and avoid cold food, so young women eat jujube ice cream. After eating spicy Sichuan hot pot, they drink plenty of chrysanthemum tea.
According to e-commerce giant Alibaba"s 2017 health consumption report, more than 50 percent of health product buyers are under 30. The report found that young buyers tended to search for healthy foods that need little to no preparation, such as honey, goji berries and donkey-hide gelatin, reflecting their desire to stay healthy without making too much effort.
Qian Xudong, 26, from Karamay, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, started to practice yangsheng in college, when he began to gain weight and started to feel weak from playing video games day and night.
He started running every morning because traditional Chinese medicine says that"s the best time to exercise. He also tried acupuncture and started to eat only fresh, healthy food.
"In two months, my weight dropped from 82 to 68 kilograms," he said.
However, Qian, a government worker, still holds on to some unhealthy habits such as frequently attending dinner parties and eating snacks late at night with his friends.
He said he"s aware that one of the most effective ways to lose weight is to get adequate sleep, but he likes hanging out with friends. In an attempt to counteract that, he sometimes sleeps for a couple of hours before going out. "I then return home at around 2 am and sleep till 8 am," he said.
Zhu Qingwen, a professor at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, said while it is good for young people to follow yangsheng rules and pay more attention to their health, the punk yangsheng style may do more harm than good.
"The best way to stay healthy is to avoid staying up late, not drinking plenty of goji tea after staying up barhopping.
"When people damage their health, no matter how hard they try to make up for it, the damage already exists. The best way to stay healthy is to give up their bad habits," he said.
While some young Chinese are practicing punk yangsheng, others are taking the traditional practice more seriously. In the case of Li Yong, a third-year graduate student at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, his yangsheng lifestyle is more orthodox than punk.
Li sees yangsheng as part of Chinese culture and has formed habits that he says are healthy.
At the start of autumn, he stops drinking cold beverages and starts taking foot baths every day.
He also practices acupuncture on himself frequently and attends an acupuncture club at the school where students practice acupuncture on each other.
"I also drink plenty of jujube tea, goji tea and chrysanthemum tea, and take traditional Chinese medicines that are good for my liver, kidney, spleen and stomach."
He runs every morning and sometimes he also practices tai chi and qigong exercises.
"For me, yangsheng is a lifestyle that has been passed on through generations. It is a scientific way of living," he said.
Li said young people should pay more attention to improving their physical health, and yangsheng is an effective way to do so.paper bracelet template custom livestrong bracelets rubber arm bands glow in the dark wristbands uk personalised rubber wristbands